Bihar voted today and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi came under opposition fire after asking the people of Bihar to vote for his party and parties that are part of the Mahagathbandhan of which Rahul’s party is a part. The BJP has decided to knock on the doors of the Election Commission against Rahul’s tweet that asked for votes for the first phase of voting.
Now, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar were also asking for votes together in rallies today for the NDA, but what keeps them away from trouble is that they were not asking for votes from those who were voting today. The distinction is important. In India, canvassing stops at least 24 hours before voting begins. This is called ‘election silence’. Election silence is a bid to ensure voters are not influenced at the last minute. If you influence them before the stipulated minutes and hours, you are on the right side of the Election Commission.
So, trying to influence voters in constituencies that will vote on November 3 and November 7, PM Modi reminded people they should not let jungle raj return to Bihar. Every jungle has a raja, we believe, because our story books told us so. The raja of this jungle raj that Modi was referring to was Lalu Yadav, and his son Tejashwi is jungle ka yuvraj.
Modi also said Mata Sita, who was born and brought up in Mithila, would be happy because Ram Temple is being built in Ayodhya.
How happy are the people of Bihar? Some facts may give us an idea. The Economic Survey 2019-2020 shows Bihar’s per capita income at Rs 30,617 is just about a third of the national average of Rs 1,35,050. Unemployment rate is double.
So Biharis do not really have a reason to be happy. Unhappy for sure is RJD candidate from Jamui, Vijay Prakash. Prakash has demanded that polling at 55 booths be cancelled over repeated EVM malfunctioning. Commonwealth shooter Shreyasi Singh is Vijay Prakash’s rival from the constituency, currently held by Prakash.
From booth capturing to EVM malfunctioning, we have come a long way, even if a long way is still to be covered to make voting foolproof. We will get there when we get there, but today, and on November 3 and 7, let’s get to the booth – and vote. If you are not eligible to vote in Bihar, let’s just get to booth to understand what a booth is. For one, it is the Word Of The Day.
Booth originates from Old Norse ‘buth’, which meant ‘dwell’. A booth is a small stall, compartment, or light structure for the sale of goods or for display purposes. So while no one dwells in a booth, the operative word describing booth is small. You see in Scotland, Booth is also a surname. The assigning of Booth as a surname was very topographical in nature. Booth described a person who lived in a small barn or bothy. For parties, booth describes votes.
From Bihar, let’s move to Uttar Pradesh. Not too long a distance if you aren’t forced to cover it on foot. No distance at all if the journey is made on the mental landscape. In UP, Health Minister Jai Pratap Singh has announced all UP residents will get the Covid vaccine free of cost. Smriti Irani, MP from UP's Amethi, meanwhile, announced she has tested positive. We wish her a speedy recovery.
More states to could, however, follow suit in terms on the free vaccine delivery.
But following her dreams is actor Priyanka Chopra. We don’t really know if she ever dreamt of it, but PC will be starring alongside Celine Dion and actor Sam Heughan in her Hollywood movie, which will be a remake of 2016 German-language movie SMS Fur Dich, which meant Text For You.
From facing racism in the US, to doing Hollywood movies, what a jolly good ride it has been for PC. Oh, wait. Racism reminds us of what’s going on at Silicon Valley. Discrimination of another kind – caste-based discrimination. It has come to light that caste discrimination is common in Silicon Valley. California Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed a case against Cisco just recently, and now in a joint statement published by Washington Post, 30 women Dalit engineers working at Silicon Valley companies have said that they routinely face caste discrimination at work. The first step to end discrimination is to speak out against it. The women in Silicon Valley companies have spoken out.
But do you know why Silicon Valley is called Silicon Valley? Well, the region now famous for high technology and innovation is a valley. But why silicon?
Silicon Valley's name was coined in the 1970s by electronic tabloid reporter Don Hoefler, who heard the phrase ‘Silicon Valley’ during a business lunch.
Before that, this southern region of the San Francisco Bay was called Valley of Heart’s Delight because of the myriad orchids that grow in the region. This was in the early 1900s. Then in 1950s, manufacturers of the silicon chip came in. To this day, almost everything that is manufactured and innovated at Silicon Valley like cell phones, computers, printers and gaming devices, use silicon chips. And the basic ingredient of a silicon chip is sand that contains silicon. Silicon Valley contains discrimination and discrimination is bad. But is being unhygienic good?
A paper from CSIR says that is possible. The study by CSIR shows evidence to suggest that the country’s less than desirable hygiene levels have helped Indians fight Covid-19 better than other nations. Daag achchhe hain has got a whole new meaning. The study says exposure to pathogens early in life could provide a guard against allergic diseases.
But how are we less hygienic than people who use paper to wipe themselves after taking a dump? Or people who don’t take daily baths? Or people whose eating habits are such that they don’t even take daily dumps? Maybe because millions of Indians live in squalid conditions where bathing daily doesn’t save them from exposure to germs. It could be saving them from corona though.
We do not recommend being unhygienic to beat corona. Because it may expose one to things deadlier than corona. What we do recommend is The Haunting of Bly Manor – a ghost story, which is as much a love story.
So get spooked and stay hygienic.
Also, stay safe.
We will see you tomorrow.
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